20 January 2011

"You Gotta Have Long Glass..." 20•Jan.11

"...and use it." (Long Glass - lenses).

Today's early assignment called for our first look at New York's new governor, Andrew Cuomo. Gov. Cuomo (right) spoke at Marist College near me in Poughkeepsie, NY in the college's student center theater. The small theater was dimly lit for the governor's powerpoint presentation, which was a shortened version of his State of the State address a few weeks ago up in Albany, the state capitol. The theater was overcrowded with all the local politicians and businessmen from the Hudson Valley area our paper covers, so I easily recognized a lot of the "movers and shakers", and they me. Parking was a nightmare on campus on this January morning with temps in the mid-20º's, and like most of the audience, I was forced to park literally a half mile or so from the student center. Fortunately I'd kept our pool 300mm f/2.8AF with me all weekend since covering a high school track meet over the weekend, as well as both the 1.4X and 2X tele-converters. I knew instinctively to bring along those "TE's" on that long walk across campus with three bodies, etc. I'd also packed my compact, two-step step stool, anticipating that I might need it on the press risers if they were set up for us in the theater. When I arrived upstairs, and was hustled into the theater by a few of the governor's PR people and given the visual "once over" by more than one NY State Trooper, I stopped the PR guy at the back of the theater, literally in the shadows, and told him I preferred to work from the back of the house, as I wanted to be eye level with the podium, and of course the main subject, the governor. That was the main reason I'd brought along the "3" (300mm), the tele-extenders, a sturdy monopod, and of course plenty of chewing gum... (the step stool remained in the car, as there was no way I'd be able to hustle across campus to retrieve it unless I truly needed it in a pinch. No way did I want to get locked into the corner of the theater at stage level and only have the opportunity to photograph the governor by looking up at him from a side angle, as what some of us in the business call a "nose - bleed" view. Anyway, long story short, I managed to work from the back row of the theater, squeezed in between members of the general public who were also forced to stand in the shadows of the theater, and along the walls. There were even a few professional looking folks sitting in the aisles I'd noticed when the governor began his talk. Throughout the governor's speech I was able to change lenses (barely) make the wide images on a second camera; an older Canon 1D with the 28mm - 70mm lens at ISO 1600. By viewing those images on the camera's rear viewfinder, I knew I'd have to switch out the 300mm on the Canon 5D - MKII, to make images with the 28mm - 70mm zoom as well. Oh yea, I was also required to shot a few short minutes of video with the 5D - MKII as well. That's another good reason why I choose to shoot from the back of the house, and particularly on the long lenses. I started initially with the 300mm at ISO 3200, and by the time the governor's speech was winding down, I'd upped the ISO to 4000 and my basic exposures were anywhere from 1/40th. sec. to 1/125th. sec. depending on which lens / tele- extender combination I was using. Here's a few of the favorites I made from my standing position against the back row of filled seats. ~cg.

1 comment:

  1. Chet,

    Nice job. I like the one of Cuomo and the map. Video's a nice addition to the all the other stuff we have to do isn't it?

    I have an assignment this morning at a memorial for a Border Patrol agent killed in the line of duty. Same deal. Long lens, back of the venue. I have to shoot for the paper, enough for an on line slide show (minimum 20) and 2 minutes of video for a Phoenix TV station.